Thursday, June 28, 2018

monastery economics 1 of 2


MONASTERY ECONOMICS
*
note: free book.  Zombies https://amzn.to/2Iwvgkw . 
*
I’d like to thank the long lost Druid Dude for this idea.  To be fair, I got it out of his first year of the Archdruid Report book which wasn’t exactly cheap, so I feel we are about even ( I doubt I’ll be buying more, but who knows.  That was my first article idea and more than half way through the book so… ).  He was talking about the Lifeboat Community idea and compared them to the last repositories of civilization technology, the monasteries.  The Catholic ones in Europe, the Shinto ones in Japan and the Buddhist Chinese monasteries all kept knowledge alive after civilization ( or at least, imperial ) collapse.

*

A lot of preppers love this knowledge repository idea.  Unfortunately they mistake quantity for quality and almost universally advocate e-books.  Hell, I have I don’t know how many multiple thousands of e-books myself ( mostly because I traded for them and was out little actual cash ).  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were close to ten thousand books on my DVD-ROM collection.  But if I winnowed them down, removing all the prep and petroleum dependent advice, I doubt I’d have as huge a collection.  But that is the thing, isn’t it? The very quantity ensures I’ll have a hard time choosing what to kept and transmit to paper.

*

I don’t doubt that there will be hugely helpful nuggets scattered all therein.  And I don’t doubt that there will be more than enough spare computers about that you can keep reading far into the future.  Even without batteries, once you replace old monitors with flat screens, even an old clunky desktop will be energy efficient enough to just run off solar panels.  It is hard to fathom not being able to study all your collection and retain the best old timey stuff.  But this probably won’t be a walk in the park, a fun winter diversion.  It is probably going to be a full time, lifetime job.  And hence the economics of monasteries.

*

Druid Dude made the point that in order to be able to devote the necessary time and energy into preserving and copying the old information, the monks had to live BELOW the poverty of the surrounding peasants.  They couldn’t raise children and support kings, as their limited resources went into being a library and copying service.  Which, without oil and coal is not all that easy of a task.  Think about how big of a room full of scribes you would need to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica just once, for instance.  And without machinery and artificial fertilizers, pulp for paper isn’t exactly resource cheap, either.

*

Now, there were more to monasteries than copying books.  They needed to On The Job Train all the new guys, raise their own food, devote all that time to being one with god, and all the rest.  Their primary duties weren’t JUST knowledge preservation.  And I have no idea how much civilization knowledge they actual preserved.  It might have been a majority of religious texts.  At least with the Papists, who were not above goading their Soldiers For Jesus to go smite the unbelievers still hugging trees if they refused to convert, the church was an empire onto itself.  I’m sure a lot of trees died for propaganda ( not to diss on anyone’s beliefs.  I denigrate organized religion and their quest for treasure and power here, not the belief in a higher power itself ).

*

Regardless, without surplus energy, there is little power in the form of food that is available for extra activities.  You need to support a military, to protect the food, and after that is done there is little surplus.  Certainly the king himself wouldn’t support a bunch of loafing robe wearing couch potatoes.  What did they actually bring to the table, survival wise?  You can’t say, “needed knowledge”, because it wasn’t needed all through the Dark Ages.

*

Here is where most people keep getting confused.  High technology and non survival activities are ONLY available with surplus energy.  It doesn’t matter how important an activity COULD be, what future benefits COULD IN THEORY deliver.  Without the additional resources, it cannot be done.  Yes, keeping up the Roman era water delivery system could have ensured bigger fields in semi-arid regions.  But those were only needed for a bigger population that no longer existed after barbarian invasions, plague following malnutrition following grain import ceasing all took out excess numbers. 

*

And without extra energy coming in from the border areas of the empire, there was no longer the resources to keep up the water system.  They were higher energy items no longer able to be maintained.  Just like Detroit today.  Yes, in THEORY, if you had kept the manufacturing machinery and the culture of training new manufacturers, one day you might have been able to max out tariffs and tell foreign manufactures to pound sand.  But you didn’t keep up that infrastructure because at the time it would have taken energy and resources you simply didn’t have.  Yes, I understand there was a lot of extra issues such as the Banksters pushing to take over the economy through financialization.  But either choosing, or being forced to choose, we abandoned the infrastructure and now do not have the ability to replace it.

*

Maintaining infrastructure isn’t a choice of redirecting priorities, it is about a shrinking resource being triaged.  Something has to be abandoned.  It is a zero sum game, not a question of Political Will or Money.  It seems so at the time, but at heart is a shrinkage of resources.  In a monastery, it isn’t a question of raising more food to have more able bodies to perform church-y tasks.  It is being able to live on less so as to be able to indulge in the luxury of not devoting as much resources towards raising food.  You can’t have books and be farming a surplus at the same time, so you farm a bare minimum and use the remaining calories towards books.  Farming itself is easy.  It is maintaining its infrastructure that is difficult.

*

You must have buildings to store surplus to take you through to the next harvest.  You must build fences to keep animals from escaping.  You must harvest wood, as well as coppicing that woodlot.  You must devote fields to hay for draft animals, have shelter for them as well as winter feed.  You need water supplies.  And etcetera.  All this is an upfront cost in energy and maintaining it calls for energy even during an interruption of your crops.  A monastery needed to skim off a percentage of that energy to pay for its non-food production activities.  That was paid for by needing LESS resources.  If one farmer managed one acre by eating energy dense food, two monks managed that one acre eating lesser foods and each spending half their time farming and the other half in “office work”.  Continued tomorrow.

END ( today's related link https://amzn.to/2tl03vE )
 
Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page ( or from www.bisonbulk.blogspot.com ).
*** Unless you are in extreme poverty, spend a buck a month here, by the above donation methods or mail me some cash or buy a book. If you don't do Kindle books, send me the money and I'll e-mail it to you in a PDF file.  If you donated, you may request books no charge.   My e-mail is: jimd303@reagan.com  My address is: James M Dakin, 181 W Bullion Rd #12, Elko NV 89801-4184
*** Pay your author-no one works for free.  I’m nice enough to publish for barely above Mere Book Money, so do your part.*** junk land under a grand *  Lord Bison* my bio & biblio*   my web site is www.bisonprepper.com *** Wal-Mart wheat***Amazon Author Page
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there

 

16 comments:

  1. Yes, the unicorn preppers will NOT be able to have "their cake and eat it too." Their will be very few to none, groups-tribes-government subgroups that will have a luxury/surplus of TIME AND EXTRA RESOURCES to be chanting prayers and copying texts-books, or even more taxing on the supply lines the apprentice training of replacement generations of youths to that purpose. (Guild-trade, or military training is all that can be allowed due to no extra resources outside of home-farm learning) Anyways, it will all be like books found by an indian war party looting caravans, useless to their needs thus burned in fires to cook that days food. Priorities and Perceptions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank goodness there are enough Daniel Steele books to be used as ass wipe. Perhaps the engineer books might be saved.

      Delete
    2. You can bet that if one book remains among them, it will be the Bible.
      It has been used to raise armies before, and will be used to do the same in the future.

      Delete
    3. With the caveat that the bible was, in my view, a total man made tool NOT divinely inspired ( God wouldn't have ignored the entire existence of modern man prior to agriculture ), I must say that if only the bible survives amongst all books, we are double dry dog dingus humped.

      Delete
    4. I have my own thoughts on that, but this is not the place to tell you about them. I'll send you an email if you are remotely interested

      Delete
    5. Oh, always interested. I do tend to piss off folks with my political and religious views, of course. I think they believe I'm trying to piss on their parade, but I'm only really laughing at the self-importance humans feel for very little reason. Feel free to e-mail.

      Delete
    6. Pissing off people with contrary political/religious ideas is the most fun one can have with your clothes on.

      Delete
    7. But, like masturbating with a cheese grater, only remains fun for a limited time before the consequences.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like that British Farm series all over again doesn't it?
    And hardly anybody any where knows anything about any of it.
    The burn off is going to be glorious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you also torn between wanting to see the comeuppance and dreading it? Glorious, indeed, even if we shouldn't enjoy it.

      Delete
  3. Jim, I think you would enjoy "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. I know I did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might have read that one. I remember trying the Scottish one-meh. But I probably wanted to read that one because of the Irish one. I simply can't remember.

      Delete
  4. One scribe wrote the "Devils Bible" in one night:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The devil there almost looks like that famous kids book illustrations.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Gigas

      Delete
  5. I don't care about the copying of the Bible and stuff, keep them busy making wine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Priorities! Distill the BS down to the important issues ( get it? Distill ).

      Delete

COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED